Sep 13, 2021 - Politics

Federal judge temporarily blocks Iowa's ban on mask mandates in schools

Governor Kim Reynolds at a Trump Rally

Governor Kim Reynolds at a Trump Rally last year. Photographer: Rachel Mummey/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order on Monday blocking Iowa from enforcing a recent law that bars schools from requiring masks.

Why it matters: The move, effective immediately, allows school districts to enforce mask mandates as kids are returning to the classroom. The lawsuit represents the interest of students who are ineligible for COVID-19 vaccines or are at risk of severe complications from the virus.

Driving the news: Last week, a group of parents representing kids with disabilities filed a lawsuit challenging the ban, which was signed into law in May.

  • The motion also comes on the heels of an investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights into whether Iowa’s mask mandate ban violates the Americans With Disabilities Act and Rehabilitation Act, the AP reports.

What they're saying: U.S. District Court Judge Robert Pratt granted the order because the plaintiffs showed that the lack of mask use "substantially increases [the] risk of contracting the virus that causes COVID-19 and that due to their various medical conditions they are at an increased risk of severe illness or death," Pratt wrote

  • "[If] the drastic increase in the number of pediatric COVID-19 cases since the start of the school year in Iowa is any indication of what is to come, such an extreme remedy is necessary to ensure that the children involved in this case are not irreparably harmed," Pratt added.

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